16 March 2016

Juba - The population in Leer, South Sudan, continues to live in fear of rape, looting and violence after at least four incidents were recorded in March.

Two MSF Land cruisers can be seen on the road as women and children sit under a tree outside of the abandoned and looted MSF hospital after receiving food for children under five. 
Photo:Dominic Nahr

In the most recent incident on March 14, 27 civilians – mostly women and children - fled to the MSF compound seeking shelter as their houses were looted by a group of men carrying guns. “In the evening of March 14, the MSF teams could hear screaming coming from the village. Then, suddenly, the MSF teams saw civilians running in our direction. They were running for their lives and they feel as though there is no one to turn to, so they take shelter with MSF” says Jens Pagotto, MSF emergency coordinator in Leer county.

Tens of thousands of people from all over the nearby region prepare to receive their first distribution in many months in Thonyor, South Sudan.
Photo:Dominic Nahr

In other recent incidents of armed looting recorded earlier in March, at least one person was killed, at least two women were raped and one patient was brought to the MSF Hospital in Leer to be treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen.  “The security situation for the people living in Leer remains desperate, with increasingly regular instances of armed robbery, violent attacks and sexual violence against women,” says Pagotto.

Relatives of a boy who was bitten in the head by a dog, and was suspected of having rabies, wait with other family members in an abandoned building in Leer.
Photo:Dominic Nahr

MSF asks the local authorities to take immediate action to ensure protection of civilians in Leer and other conflict affected areas of South Sudan.

MSF has been providing humanitarian and medical assistance in Leer for over 25 years. In the first two months of 2016, MSF provided medical assistance to nearly 13,000 patients in Leer and Thonyor, including 73 for violence-related injuries.

Find out more about MSF in South Sudan.